Hans Christian Andersen (1952): Danny Kaye Oscar Nominated Biopic of Legendary Writer

Sam Goldwyn’s final production for RKO Radio release, is also the producer’s last vehicle of Danny Kaye, his major star.

The Moss Hart-Myles Connolly fictional screenplay for Hans Christian Andersen disregards the facts about the great storyteller, opting for a fanciful, typically 1950s blend of comedy, fantasy, romance and music.

As played by Kaye, Hans Christian Andersen starts out as a small-town cobbler whose gift for spinning fairy tales  keeps the kids from attending school. Asked to leave town, Hans heads to Copenhagen to seek his fortune as writer. After having his heart broken by the beautiful ballerina Doro (Jeanmaire), Hans finds solace and happiness in the knowledge that children all over the world are reading and enjoying his enchanting fantasy fables.

Frank Loesser’s score includes such tunes as “No Two People,” “The King’s New Clothes,” “Wonderful Copenhagen,” “Inchworm,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Thumbelina” (which was nominated for an Oscar), and the title song.

“Hans Christian Andersen” was a smash box-office hit, occupying the sixth position among the year’s top-grossing films.

The industry responded with six Oscar nominations, though no awards (see below).


Oscar Nominations: 5

Cinematography (Color): Harry Stradling

Art Direction-Set Decoration (Color): Richard Day and Clave; Howard Bristol

Costume Design (Color): Clave, Mary Wills, Madame Karinska

Song: Thumbelina, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser

Sound Recording:

Scoring of Musical: Walter Scharf


Oscar Awards: None


Oscar Context:



Danny Kaye as Hans Christian Andersen

Farley Granger as Niels

Zizi Jeanmaire as Doro

Philip Tonge as Otto

Erik Bruhn as The Hussar

Roland Petit as the Prince



Running time: 112 Minutes.

Directed by Charles Vidor

Screenplay: Moss Hart, Myles Connolly

Released: November 25, 1952.